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Interview with Dr Purnima Karia (Rehabilitation Specialist)

About Dr Purnima Karia

Dr Purnima (Rehabilitation Specialist) completed her studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and also has a Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation. Additionally, she has completed her bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and is in the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (ADED). She is also a certified Driving Rehab Specialist and has been working as an Occupational Therapist at Providence Health & Services for over nine years in San Pedro, Los Angeles.

Rehabilitation & the Role of an Occupational Therapist

Rehabilitation is the care that can help you to get back or improve the abilities that you need for your daily life additionally, it can deal with physical, cognitive, mental or emotional well-being.

As an occupational therapist, we are a one-of-a-kind profession and also we are the only professionals that help people across a person’s life-span. Additionally, we help them to do what they want to do through the therapeutic activities in daily living. When a person comes to the rehabilitation center, we ask them to know what they do for their daily living and what they cannot do. Then we modify the task for the environment to enrich that gap and help people achieve functional independence, whether it is at home, in the community, or at schools or colleges. We also help people manage their trauma and to gain the confidence to adapt to any situation, it’s a holistic approach.

Dealing with Patients with Neurological Conditions

Patients come to us with different diagnoses, it can be brain stroke, Parkinson’s, or also surgical resection of brain tumor, etc. Depending on the kind of intervention they need, we provide patients different therapies. It is a multi-disciplinary approach. The goal is to get the patients in the center and help them in all areas. As an occupational therapist, we look up to patients to see whether they can get up, do their daily activities, move on their own, or at a higher level, whether they can get back to work.

Chemobrain

A chemobrain depends on the intensity of treatment. The symptoms can vary from person to person, including difficulty in concentration, attention, fogginess in their brains, and inability to focus or remember things.

The most important strategy I tell patients is to have a daily routine, set-up a routine for yourself, do as much as your body can handle, and get back to things you enjoy the most. Balance yourself, do things you enjoy and participate in family gatherings.

Acute Neuro Rehab and Care

It’s an intensive rehabilitation. Patients should be able to handle three hours of therapy and should be able to tolerate it. It requires a multi-disciplinary team that includes a rehab physician, OT-PT speech, case manager, psychologist, and social worker. Patients get three hours of therapy every day for 5 to 6 days. It’s a customized intervention.

Rehabilitation for Cognitive Impairment Post-Treatment

People in India are not rehab-oriented. It’s very important to have rehabilitation. If someone feels some brain changes, even a minor thing, the patient who understands better develops better insight and awareness. They should understand if they need any help. Getting help is not bad.

Message for Cancer Patients

Help is there for you; get the right professional help, right treatment, right approach, and do not give up on yourself. Don’t think that this will be for ever; there is hope, there is so much research out there, don’t be sad or sit behind, and take support.

How is ZenOnco.io helping patients?

I know what Ms Dimple went through, and what she is putting out is a great step to help people experiencing the trauma. ZenOnco.io and Love Heals Cancer are helping people in a holistic way.

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